EasyCouncil end of Term Report is a #Fail

“An increasing number of high risk and medium risk findings relate to the financial management practices in place at the Council, specifically those around income and expenditure monitoring. A failure of the control environment around financial management could significantly exacerbate the already extensive financial pressures on the Council and increases the risk of fraud. A significant internal fraud issue was identified at the Council during 2017/18; a criminal investigation is ongoing in relation to this matter but it highlights the risks that can crystallise if the lines of defence are not appropriately designed or operating as intended.”

(Source: The London Borough of Barnet, Annual Internal Audit Opinion, 2017/2018, http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47416/Appendix%20-%20Annual%20Internal%20Audit%20Opinion%202017-18.pdf )

Barnet UNISON notes the serious risks and issues detailed in “The London Borough of Barnet, Annual Internal Audit Opinion, 2017/2018.”

The Audit Committee meets on Tuesday 17 July, 2018, 7 pm at Hendon Town Hall, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BG

Barnet UNISON opinion.

The most shocking omission for the Audit Committee is the failure to provide the detailed review undertaken by Grant Thornton UK LLP (GT)

 “1.17 The Council subsequently employed Grant Thornton UK LLP (GT) in January 2018 to undertake a detailed review to fully understand and document the fraud itself through a forensic review, identify the reasons that the alleged fraud could occur, including weaknesses in the control environment and to identify lessons learned. The Council engaged an external provider as this ensured that the circumstances around the alleged fraud were the subject of an independent review, as well as adding capacity.

1.18 The Grant Thornton report is attached at Appendix 1. It is currently in draft form to allow Capita a period of time to review and comment on its accuracy. As the report contains financial and business information about Re and Capita and Capita has not yet had an opportunity to provide comments on its contents, it is not in the public interest to publish it at this stage. This report and further reporting information from the Grant Thornton review will be finalised over the next few weeks and months and it is intended that these will be presented to Audit Committee and any other relevant Council committee in the Autumn 2018.”

(Report of Chief Executive, Audit Committee, 17 July 2018 http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47427/Report%20of%20the%20Chief%20Executive.pdf

On Thursday 19 July 2018 at the Policy and Resources Committee, Barnet Council is considering the future of the Capita contracts. The report produced by senior officers provides the councillors with three options. It recommends Option 2.

Review of Capita Contracts – Strategic Outline Case

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47263/Capita%20Realignment.pdf

Barnet UNISON believes that informed decision making cannot be reached without the details of the Grant Thornton Review being made available to the members of Policy and Resources Committee and Barnet Council Taxpayers and residents.

There is a very real material risk that any decisions made without the publication of the Grant Thornton report could leave Barnet Council at risk of another Judicial Review.

Below are some extracts from a number of reports on the Agenda of the Audit Committee, 17 July, 2018.

The use of bold is our own, in order to help shine a light on the fundamental and systemic issues being raised at the Audit Committee.

1. The London Borough of Barnet, Annual Internal Audit Opinion, 2017/2018.”

 “There has been a significant increase in the percentage of audit reports receiving an overall rating of “limited” (from 11% in 16/17 to 25% in 17/18), and a corresponding decrease in the percentage of audit reports receiving a “reasonable rating” (from 78% in 16/17 to 61% in 17/18). This represents a clear weakening of the control environment at the Council.”

“A number of planned key financial systems audits were removed from the audit plan to avoid confusion or duplication with the review of controls separately commissioned by the Chief Finance Officer in response to the significant fraud issue identified during the year.”

 “As reported to the Policy and Resources Committee in June, the Council’s revenue outturn position for 2017/18 was £13.5m overspent. At quarter 3, the forecast position had been £6.6m overspent. The increase in overspend by quarter 4 was analysed in the Financial Monitoring Report outturn to Financial Performance and Contracts Committee in July.”

 “Internal audits undertaken during the period, including audits of key financial systems, demonstrated a weakening of the financial control environment. This included a number of areas where evidence could not be provided to confirm that basic fraud prevention controls were operating including segregation of duties for transaction approvals and reconciliations, proactive review of areas with a high fraud risk due to value or known issues, and user access to the key financial system of Payroll.”

 “During 2017/18 the Council has been dealing with a significant financial fraud issue. This matter came to light late in December 2017 and the Council responded immediately with the following actions: a criminal investigation commenced immediately by the Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (with relevant support where required from the Police); the suspect was suspended from work immediately and shortly after dismissed; and stringent additional emergency financial controls were immediately put in place to safeguard the council’s finances until a full review could be undertaken. An independent review of financial control and financial forensic analysis was commissioned and Grant Thornton were appointed to undertake this review.”

“Non-schools payroll – The payroll system access report was not regularly reviewed to ensure that access has only been granted to appropriate members of staff. Additionally, the overtime payments process was manual and as a result, payroll staff were not able to access details of the manager who approved an individual’s overtime payment, increasing the risk of payroll processing invalid or fraudulent payments.”

 “Pensions Administration – Contract monitoring meetings held to monitor the pension administration section of the CSG contract were not formally recorded by the Council and employer targets for the scheme administration strategy are not monitored. There was no scheme communication strategy or agreed fund administration strategy in place during the period under review.”

“Staff Performance Reviews – There is no super-user access to the Core HR system or central ability within HR to go into staff records to look at the quality and content of appraisal documentation. This may mean that there was not sufficiently detailed central oversight to be able to ensure that the performance review process was fairly applied across all service areas and staff groups. There was no secondary review process to challenge any missing or insufficient information within moderation panel forms, so the process relied on the HR business partner to assure the completeness and quality of these forms. Based on the audit work carried out, this was not happening consistently.”

“Water Safety – A lack of formal training for premises coordinators around legionella testing was noted.”

 “Transformation – The Way We Work – While a benefits tracker is in place which clearly outlines the key benefits of the programme, there was not yet a breakdown of key milestones for each benefit, benefits monitoring was not yet taking place at a project level, and not all benefits had clear links between benefit description, baseline, measurement method and target. The review date within the assumptions log had not been filled in for the Office 365 project, and as such there was no evidence that these assumptions had been reviewed since they were first identified. Only five changes were recorded in the change log for the programme. Given the complexity and size of TW3 and the many known changes since the programme’s inception, this indicated that the change log is not being consistently used to record changes to the programme scope and budget and the agreement of these changes.”

“Staff Performance Reviews – An equalities analysis of performance rating distributions across different monitored protected characteristics was reported to the Strategic Commissioning Board (SCB) on 4 July 2017. However, this report did not effectively convey rating curves or allow the identification of variances between areas due to issues with chart layout and the quality of analysis. As a result, clear variances between service areas and variances around gender, religion and disability were not identified, investigated or reported on. This analysis also took place after the end of the moderation process, meaning that any variances could only be investigated retrospectively.”

“Issues were noted by internal audit with the extent to which statutory and internal deadlines for activity were met, increasing the Council’s potential liability for additional fees and charges, and legal sanctions and reducing the extent to which its own enforcement activity can be carried out. We noted issues with the performance of key employment checks including DBS and right to work checks, which could lead to fines, legal action and reputational damage. Key health and safety checks relating to water safety were not carried out in line with required statutory timescales. In a number of areas including some key financial systems, we noted that policies and procedures were not consistently in place or regularly updated. Policies and procedures are a basic pillar of a functioning control framework. Where they are missing or out of date, this indicates that the control environment has not been regularly reviewed and updated to mirror changes in local or statutory approaches to service delivery.” 

“Eligibility to Work – Pre-Employment Checks (Non-Schools) – We noted several anomalies in the DBS data provided to us for review. In some cases HR were unclear as to whether the post required or did not require a DBS check or of the DBS level required. In other cases, no DBS certificate reference was held. As a result, it was not clear whether all staff have the required DBS clearance. CSG Management also confirmed that there were no central, consistent arrangements for logging or following up Home Office right to work (RTW) approvals approaching expiry because RTW data is not held on the Core HR system to support the necessary reporting. The Council can be fined £20,000 by the Home Office per illegal worker. Pre-employment checks, covering identity checks (proof of address), DBS checks, National Insurance checks, reference checks and qualification checks (generally the responsibility of the relevant Council manager) were not undertaken consistently.”

“Commercial Waste – achieving income target – Formal notices had not been provided to companies requiring them to use commercial waste sacks, meaning that it is difficult to undertake enforcement activity relating to non-compliance. We noted enforcement processes involving the issuing of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) where businesses were unable to provide their commercial trade waste agreement. However, intended enhancements to the enforcement process, involving the review and decision making of customer cases following the FPN enforcement process had not yet been fully introduced. Vehicle tracker monitoring and vehicle inspections were not carried out in accordance with the frequency laid out in procedure documents. Performance monitoring had not identified this issue.”

“Water Safety – Performance of water safety testing did not consistently happen in line with required timescales. In one instance annual water sampling testing was over five months overdue at the date of testing. Documentation was not consistently uploaded to Info Exchange to demonstrate that testing or remedial action had taken place.”

“Non-schools Payroll – Policies and procedures do not cover the overtime payments or processes and controls in place to manage system access.”

“While it looks like the 2017/18 outcomes are similar to 2015/16’s, if ratings were assigned on the 2015/16 basis, the number of “limited” reports in 2017/18 would increase to 12 (43% of rated reports), which represents a significant deterioration from 2015/16 in real terms.”

(Source: The London Borough of Barnet, Annual Internal Audit Opinion, 2017/2018, http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47416/Appendix%20-%20Annual%20Internal%20Audit%20Opinion%202017-18.pdf )

2. Report of Chief Executive, Audit Committee, 17 July 2018

“Financial Control and Risk of Fraud

1.11 A referral was received by the Corporate Anti Fraud Team (CAFT) in December 2017 alleging that a substantial amount of money had been paid into an account belonging to a member of Re staff. A criminal and financial investigation was immediately initiated by CAFT which subsequently identified that 62 allegedly fraudulent transactions, between July 2016 to December 2017, amounting to the total sum of £2,063,972.00, had been paid into various bank accounts controlled by the individual. The individual is no longer working for Re. The individual has been charged with two counts of fraud by abuse of position under the Fraud Act 2006. The case is currently listed for hearing in Harrow Crown Court. The sum has been repaid to the Council by Re and Capita has confirmed that it has underwritten this loss.

1.12 Following this discovery, the Council immediately took action to tighten financial controls and initiated an independent report into the wider financial control environment across the organisation.

1.15 The Council immediately put into place a new system of approving CHAPs payments. As these “on the day” payments are approved outside of Integra or any feeder systems that interface with the financial ledger, such as the Social Care system, approval for payments take place. The new systems went live during December. The system introduced six stringent effective new controls.

1.16 A dual authorisation process was also introduced for the release of payments from Bankline, the application through which CHAPs payments are made, so that in additional to a CSG employee, a Barnet Council employee must sign off each payment release in the system.

1.17 The Council subsequently employed Grant Thornton UK LLP (GT) in January 2018 to undertake a detailed review to fully understand and document the fraud itself through a forensic review, identify the reasons that the alleged fraud could occur, including weaknesses in the control environment and to identify lessons learned. The Council engaged an external provider as this ensured that the circumstances around the alleged fraud were the subject of an independent review, as well as adding capacity.

1.18 The Grant Thornton report is attached at Appendix 1. It is currently in draft form to allow Capita a period of time to review and comment on its accuracy. As the report contains financial and business information about Re and Capita and Capita has not yet had an opportunity to provide comments on its contents, it is not in the public interest to publish it at this stage. This report and further reporting information from the Grant Thornton review will be finalised over the next few weeks and months and it is intended that these will be presented to Audit Committee and any other relevant Council committee in the Autumn 2018.

1.19 The Internal Audit programme has been focused on internal financial controls for 2018/19. This will ensure that sufficient scrutiny and external challenge is applied to the robustness of the control environment.

OUTCOME: A tightened financial control environment and reasonable or substantial assurance on internal financial control audit reports throughout 2018/19.”

“1.34 A review of the Council’s senior management structure has been initiated and will come to Committee in the autumn. This will take into account the proposed changes to the Capita contracts and address matters in respect of roles, responsibilities and accountabilities which are highlighted in the Annual Governance Statement and Head of Internal Audit Opinion.

1.35 It is important that senior management roles and accountabilities are regularly controlled and this review will need to take into account the changes that are being proposed in the Policy and Resources Committee report on the Council’s contracts with Capita.

1.36 This review will come to Constitution and General Purposes Committee in October 2018 and will be implemented by April 2019.

OUTCOME: A new senior management structure in place for 2019.”

(Source: Report of Chief Executive, Audit Committee, 17 July 2018 http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47427/Report%20of%20the%20Chief%20Executive.pdf )

3. Appendix 1 Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (CAFT), Progress Report: 1 April – 30 June 2018

“4. Noteworthy investigation summaries: –

Corporate Fraud

Case 1 – Case 1 – relates to Financial Proceeds of Crime Case and a significant fraud by a member of staff working for Re (Regional Enterprise Ltd), who was also previously employed by the council. A referral was received by CAFT in December 2017 alleging that a substantial amount of money had been paid into an account belonging to a member of Re staff. A criminal and financial Investigation was immediately initiated by CAFT which subsequently identified that 62 allegedly fraudulent transactions, between the dates July 2016 to December 2017 and amounting to the total sum of £2,063,972.00 had been paid into various bank accounts controlled by the individual. The individual is no longer working for Re.

The individual was summonsed to appear before Willesden Magistrates court on the 3rd July 2018, on two charges of Fraud by Abuse of Position, contrary to the Section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006. The individual gave no indication of plea and the matter was referred to Harrow Crown Court for a Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing on 31st July 2018. Further details including the outcome of this case will be reported once the criminal proceedings have been concluded.”

(Source: Appendix 1 Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (CAFT), Progress Report: 1 April – 30 June 2018)

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47418/Appendix%201%20-%20CAFT%20Q1%20Progress%20Report%201st%20April%2030st%20June%202018.pdf

 

Barnet Council “Bring ‘em back, all of them!” #Capita

Press Release:  29 June 2018.

Today Barnet Council have published a financial report detailing three options for the two #Capita contracts in Barnet

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47263/Capita%20Realignment.pdf

The options are as follows:

  1. Maintain the status quo in relation to the CSG and DRS contracts;
  2. Re-shape the contracts to better align service delivery to the council and Capita’s strengths and priorities, within the context of the existing contractual structure; and
  3. Bring the partnership to an end, and either bring services back in house or re-procure them.

The senior officers preferred option is Option 2 the Council.

They have identified the following services to be brought back into Council control

CSG

  • Finance and Accounting (excluding transactional services provided from the Darlington shared service centre)
  • Estates (Property Services, Building Services and Facilities Management)
  • Strategic HR
  • Safety, Health and Welfare
  • Insight
  • Social Care Direct

Re

  • Regeneration Commissioning (including commissioning the Brent Cross programme)
  • Highways
  • Economic Skills and Development
  • Cemetery and Crematorium
  • Strategic Planning

“I could say we, told you so, and we did. However the Council is in a financially critical situation and now is not the time to for rhetoric. it is time to start rebuilding our Council. I welcome the report going to Policy and Resources Committee on Thursday 19 July 2018. However, Barnet UNISON will be supporting option 3 with qualifications. We support bringing the partnership to an end, and beginning the process of bringing services back in house. It is simply not feasible to contain to peddle the Commissioning Council model. Pragmatism driven by the financial crisis has to mean that the Council needs to include in their business case a major restructuring of senior management across the Council including the Barnet Group. The Commissioning restructure 2012 is not fit for purpose. The Council need to look at how services best fit including those within the Barnet Group. There must not be a silo approach to insourcing. John Burgess, Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON

Background

  1. Two Capita contracts with Barnet Council are:

Customer and Support Group (CSG)

https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/council-and-democracy/one-barnet-transformation-programme/customer-and-support-group-csg.html

  1. Regional Enterprise Ltd (Re)

https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/council-and-democracy/one-barnet-transformation-programme/regional-enterprise-ltd-re.html

Footnote: On 26 June 2017 Capita share price was 705.50 now six months later the share price closed today at 202.09 which represents a 72% drop in their share price over a six month period.

On Wednesday 31 January, 2018 the Capita share price opened up at 347 and closed at 182.50 which represents a 47.53% fall in share price.

Links.

Damning report into EasyCouncil, Outsourcing including forward by John McDonnell

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Barnet-UNISON-Capita-report-2018.pdf

Below are three short video messages from Dexter Whitfield on his report.

Dexter Whitfield on campaigning against outsourcing

https://youtu.be/zDt8VKKQ-Vs

Dexter Whitfield on outsourcing failures

https://youtu.be/IiD17Pt7OwY

Dexter Whitfield on true costs of Barnet easyCouncil

https://youtu.be/V0SytYCj1HA

 

 

National Pay impact on Barnet Council grades

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above table shows the news grades following the National Agreement of Pay.

Barnet Council will be paying the National Pay Award in the Pay Slip at the end of June.

It should include your new basic pay rate and three months backdating to 1 April 2018.

For those staff who are no longer Council employers but who are entitled to the Pay Award here is the link to the London Agreement which has the spinal column points.

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2018-19-GLPC-Circular-Special-Salary-Arrangements-for-London-2018-2020.pdf

If you have any problems with your pay please contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#FundingCrisis at Barnet Council

1. Background

Some of us have been working in Barnet Council a long long time so it’s hard to believe that almost 6 years ago Barnet Council announced the ‘Barnet Graph of Doom’

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/may/15/graph-doom-social-care-services-barnet

they even made a video https://youtu.be/2lC1DWzHFHg

A lot has happened in that time.

The Council looked to mass outsourcing as an option and by late 2014 had plans for outsourcing almost all of the Council, just like Northamptonshire County Council.

Barnet Council pulled back from further outsourcing but Northamptonshire County Council ploughed ahead and the rest as they say is history……..

“Northamptonshire in early February became the first council to issue the first section 114 notice of its kind in 20 years, barring new spending on all but statutory services.”

https://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2018/02/northants-revised-budget-finds-further-ps99m-savings1

Some of us anoraks do keep an eye on the Council and I plead guilty to being one of those anoraks.

The financial viability of the Council has a direct impact on Barnet UNISON members working for the Council and the contractors delivering services for the residents of Barnet.

The “Barnet Graph of Doom” has always been in my thoughts as we approach the end of this decade. My concern about the doomsday scenario was not helped with the lack of any serious media coverage during the last local government elections. Funding from central government continues to diminish yet demand for services is increasing. The idea that business rates will help offset the loss of government funding is in my view both pure fantasy and dangerous. Anyone venturing outside the Westminster bubble will see the relentless decline of high streets and the economy. Not a week goes by without hearing that another retailer is going bust and often these are based in the big malls not the high streets. Austerity is draining the life force not just out of public services, but our communities and local businesses. After all if you have no money, you can’t spend it.

What Financial Crisis?

On Monday 11 June 2018, at the Policy and Resources Committee a very serious financial crisis is being brought to councillors.

To view the details click on the links to the three reports below

Business Planning report here http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s46601/Business%20Planning.pdf

Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) report here http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s46602/Appendix%20A%20-%20MTFS.pdf

Title Contract variations and extensions

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s46586/Contract%20Variations%20and%20Extensions.pdf

A jargon free analysis has been provided by Barnet Blogger Mr Reasonable has already provided his views on what he has read in the above reports which you can view here.

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.com/2018/06/financial-meltdown-in-barnet-should-we.html

2. Back to the Business Planning report

The report has a lot of worrying news as it appears that the final prediction of the Barnet “graph of doom” may have arrived a lot earlier than had been predicted.

As a result of the seriousness of the content of the report Barnet UNISON has already met with the Chief Executive and the section 151 officer at which we were able to raise our concerns.

Our first concern is the “in year saving of 9.5 million that has just suddenly appeared from nowhere.

By that I mean, when the latest Council Budget was approved on Tuesday 6 March 2018, there was no forecast for any need for any more budget cuts.

See MTFS here

(source:http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s45344/Appendix%20A%20-%20Medium%20Term%20Financial%20Strategy.pdf )

Yet in the MTFS for Policy and Resources Monday 11 June 2018 it reveals:

“Budget Gap after savings £13.493 million

Barnet Council have taken £4million from reserves to reduce the Budget Gap to £9.453 million.

(Source: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s46602/Appendix%20A%20-%20MTFS.pdf )

It’s important to understand what this means.

For 2018/19 Barnet Council has already, consulted and made plans to make £8.989 in cuts.

The latest MTFS is now urgently requiring the Council to find a further £9.453 million which would mean a total of £18.442 million in service cuts.

This is a #FundingCrisis.

Barnet UNISON has asked where the £9.453 million cuts for this year will be made.

However, the situation gets worse.

In the MTFS in March 2018, Barnet Councillors agreed a budget that stated that for the period 2019/20 they would need to find an extra £5.965 million of cuts on top of the already £12.174 million of cuts planned for 2019/20.

That would mean £18.139 million of cuts for 2019/2020 would be made to services.

However the MTFS for June 2018 reveals that the £5.965 budget gap has now increased to £22.997 million of cuts.

The Council plans to provide £3.720 from reserves meaning the revised extra cut needed for 2019/20 is £19.277 million.

This means the revised figure for the total amount of cuts required for 2019/2020 has increased from £18.139 million to £31.451 million.

Sadly it get worse.

For 2020/21 the MTFS is projecting a £34.334 million cut

For 2021/22 the MTFS is projecting a £41.994 million cut

“The updated MTFS shows an anticipated budget gap of £42m to 2021/22. High level calculations estimate this to be £62m when extended out to 2024/2025.”

(source: paragraph 1.1.8 Business Planning 2018-24, 11 June, 2018)

3. Communication

We have been advised that news of the #FundingCrisis is being cascaded down to the workforce.

 

4. What can the Council do?

Whilst the bigger issue of government funding needs to be addressed outside Barnet, Barnet UNISON has views on some of the choices that the Council needs to consider in order to prevent any further cuts to frontline services in the short term.

Our suggestions are based on a number of factors

The latest Council spend.

We have looked at what the Council has spent for the period April 2017 to March 2018 which includes spend to the contractors. The Barnet Council data was downloaded from their website here:

https://open.barnet.gov.uk/dataset/expenditure-reporting-2017-18

From this data we have collated a table of the Top 20 spend (see table)

Barnet UNISON savings proposals

  1. Non-essential locums/consultants.

It is an established fact that the agency/consultancy spend spiralled out of control after 2011 as the outsourcing began. The culture of dependency on consultancy is draining much needed money from frontline services.  An urgent review of all non-essential locum posts must be completed as a matter of urgency.

  1. Contractors

Barnet Council must begin process of terminating of outsourced contracts over a phased period of time. It is unsustainable to see in-house budgets squeezed whilst outsourced services are making money from the public purse.

  • Capita CSG
  • Re
  • Mott MacDonald,
  • ISS
  • NSL

 

  1. Bring Barnet Group back into the Council

The Council is in a financial crisis which is not getting better any time soon. Frontline services which help and support the most vulnerable are going to be at risk.

The Housing Service needs to be brought back under Council control. The decision makers need to decide whether there is financial and moral justification to continue to finance senior management structures both within and outside the Council, for example, there is a Chief Executive post in Barnet Homes and Barnet Council, to have both is not sustainable or defensible under the current economic climate. It is our view that by returning Housing Services back into the Council there would need to be a review of the senior management structure which would inevitably lead to some serious savings thus avoiding the need to make cuts to frontline services.

  1. Commissioning Service (client side)

The implications of our previous options would mean the Commissioning service would cease to exist – this would lead to a significant budget saving. The current revenue budget for this service is approximately £7 million a year.

Conclusions

The cuts to Council funding are part of the austerity anti public services agenda which are ultimately a deliberate attack on local democracy.

Councils are the heartbeat of our communities. They are a vital part of the public service infrastructure that exists to support and promote wellbeing in our communities.

The damage resulting from Austerity policies is becoming clearer every day whether it is the increase in homelessness, closure of shops in the high streets, increase in begging, increase in fly tips, longer waiting times in the GP or hospitals.

In the absence of a “Magic Money Tree”, something needs to change here in Barnet.

The Council needs to hold up its hands, and step away from the previous ideology that has dominated decision making over the last decade.

In our view, with the #FinancialCrisis now in black and white, decisions must now be made on what to fund or not.

We believe the options provided above will provide a “breathing space” for frontline services.

Our proposals will not be enough in the medium to long term. That can only be addressed by national government.

In the absence of any sign that the Government are going to reverse the cuts to Councils, it must be time that that all Councils join the Trade Unions, workforce and residents and march on Parliament to demand proper funding for our communities.

“We Want To Get It Right This Time, Don’t We?” Barnet UNISON Family Services report

Recommendations

  1. Extend formal staff consultation by at least 1 month
  2. Request for an update of progress and developments following the consultation to come to this Committee prior to it going to General Purpose Committee (formerly GFC) and bring to this Committee hard data regarding the changes proposed here.
  3. Ensure the trade unions and staff are fully engaged with all aspects of the restructure including any changes to role profiles and that the trade unions are formally involved in the job evaluation process.
  4. Engage staff fully in the development and design of the new services before the consultation of the restructure takes place. Amongst other concerns there are significant Health and Safety considerations for staff and the public regarding the changing usage of some of the premises mentioned in this report.

To view full report click on link Barnet UNISON Response to Children, Young People and Family Hubs 0-19 FBC 2018

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